HK operators cool towards mobile TV

Robert Clark
02 Mar 2010

Hong Kong operators are cool towards the offer of fresh spectrum for mobile TV.

CSL, Hutchison and PCCW all told they were still weighing whether to bid for the frequencies at an auction set for May.

Regulator Ofta has announced that it will offer UHF frequencies in the 678-686 MHz band for mobile TV and datacasting.

The spectrum is compatible with the Chinese government-backed CMMB standard, which Ofta trialed in 2008 using the 678-686 MHz band.

Ofta has set a minimum spectrum utilization fee (SUF) of HK$24 million ($3.1m).

For Hong Kong operators, mobile TV comes as an expensive distraction to their 3G businesses. The offer of fresh spectrum is attractive at a time when data traffic is soaring, but the mobile TV business model has not lived up to expectations and there is no chance of using the new capacity to offload 3G traffic.

The auction will sell 15-year licenses and will require licensees to provide service coverage to at least 50% of the population within 18 months.

Operators will be allowed to offer datacasting information on up to 25% of the capacity.

The decision follows public consultations on mobile TV in 2007 and 2008.

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